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tv   Worldfocus  PBS  August 31, 2009 5:00pm-5:30pm EDT

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tonight on "worldfocus" -- >> an election day landslide in japan. the party that has ruled that country for a half a century is out. what will it mean for the united states? with casualties counting, the british prime minister visits afghanistan pledging to do more to save his fighting men from the ieds that are killing them. tonight from libya, new pictures of the freed lockerbie bomber and new questions about whether a business deal prompted his release. and from south africa, another approach in the fight against aids. can these simple sports drills save children from a disease that kills hundreds of thousands
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of their countrymen every year? made possible in part by the following funders -- r support has also been provided by the peter j. peterson foundation. dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future. good evening. i'm daljit dhaliwal. he may not exactly be the barack obama of japan, but the man expected to become the country's next prime minister is talking about shaking things up in a way that japan has rarely seen. hatoyami will bring more liberal politics and government after
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his party swept to power in yesterday's parliamentary elections. and the way that japan does business with the united states and other powers is also going to change. because japan is one of america's most important allies, we will talk about all of this in depth tonight. but first, we want to show you how it played out and the way it looked on television. japan's version of election night from abc in australia. >> the democratic party of japan charged to victory. in a seismic shift in japanese politics, the center left opposition has broken the conservative stranglehold on power ending decades of virtual one-party rule. >> translator: the people are very angry with the conservative ruling party. i thank the people who supported us. we now need to fight and work hard. >> hungry for change, the japanese turned out in droves. 70% of eligible voters cast a ballot.
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>> we need change to break the current situation in japan, just like the united states, we need change. >> in tokyo, only heavy rains from a typhoon stopped more people from making it to a polling booth. within minutes of the poll's closing, it was clear that the opposition had swept to power in a landslide. for the prime minister taro aso, the election put an end to an 11-month reign flanked by verbal gaffes and public paralysis. >> i feel it was my fate to take this election loss. i accept it. >> japan was hit by the perfect economic and political storm. >> people suffering unemployment at a record high. so that was a big factor. the other factor was the opposition had become electable after being quite symbolic through the 1990s.
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>> the son of a foreign minister and e grandson of a prime minister, yukio hatoyama comes from a political family often called the kennedys of japan. he's promising revolutionary change including free high school education, a higher minimum wage and a $320 a month child care allowance. >> translator: we must listen to the people's needs and create a government that responds to those needs. and to do that, we will not rely on bureaucrats. >> having swept the once invincible conservatives from power, yukio hatoyama must now promote their programs of change. they inherit a country deeply in the red. government debt alone will soon grow to twice the size of japan's $6 trillion economy. the democratic party has made many promises to many people, including japan's farmers. these elections certainly gives the incoming government a strong
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mandate to tackle the country's many problems. among them a rapidly aging population and record unemployment. some more on yesterday's historic election and how it will affect japan's relations with the united states and beyond. we're joined by a man who followed the american/japanese relationship closely. kenji kono is a washington bureau chief at the japanese television network nhk and he joins us from washington. hello to you. let me start by asking you, the incoming prime minister got his doctorate in engineering at stanford university. so he obviously knows a lot or something about the united states. is there going to be a shake-up of the status quo when it comes to american/japanese relations? >> i think there will be in the end. you expect some kind of new dynamism between the two countries. but i don't think it will come very soon. first of all, the united states
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and also this new government both called the u.s./japan alliance the cornerstone for east asian peace and security. but the new democratic party in japan wanted to have so-called equal standing, equal relations. and this phrase kind of puzzled the u.s. side. and the democratic parties also want to have a review of certain u.s./japan military agreements. and this also makes some causes some trouble amok the u.s./japanese exports. >> what do you think is behind hatoya in, a's plan to put an end to the refuelling of u.s. ship, supporting the war effort in afghanistan? >> well, hatoyama's party, they are against the iraq war, first of all. and they are against using military powers to solve international affairs.
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and that's why they wanted to stop the legislation to continue the refuelling of the u.s. warships in the indian ocean but the question is, they still want to work with the united states to fight against extremism. so they have to find another alternative somehow to show that u.s. is -- i mean, japan is willing to work with the obama administration. >> do you think that they will also be looking for another alternative when it comes to those u.s. bases in japan where 50,000 american troops are currently stationed? >> mm-hmm. yeah. but their idea is to relocate one of the bases out of okinawa. that's where the u.s. bases are consolidated and concentrated. but the question is where they can move the bases to one is
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accepted. so that's going to be the issue. also this party has right wingers and left wingers. all different idea of people in terms of the national security monitors. so the question is how they can consolidate their policies into international security. >> and give us a sense of -- i mean, hatoyama has this extraordinary mandate. how is he going to use it? for instance, the health of the japanese economy has a direct impact on our own economy in the united states. what kind of changes do you think that he will have to make to stimulate the economy and, of course, create jobs? >> yeah, the economy has been the biggest issue for this campaign. hatoyama's party promised to increase the growth by consumption, spending the money on social network and also raising minimum wages and giving
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something to each family and so forth. but the question is where the money comes from. nobody has the answer. they haven't answered the question yet. so this is going to be the issue. >> kenji kona, thank you very much for joining us from washington, d.c. from south asia tonight, a harsh prison sentence for a journalist whose case was recently cited by president obama. this was him in shackles after a judge sentenced him to 20 years after violating sri lanka's anti-terrorism laws all because his article accused the government of withholding food from ethnic tamil areas as a tool of war.
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we want to devote a considerable amount of time again tonight to afghanistan where the country's election commission said today that president hamid karzai continues to hold a wide lead over the former foreign minister abdullah abdullah. with almost half of the vote counted in the presidential election, karzai has almost 46%, about 33% for abdullah. but the results continue to be clouded by reports of fraud, which have gone up substantially in recent days. there are also increasing reports of violence against people who tried to vote. this man claimed that the taliban cut off his nose and ears. his doctor spoke about it. >> translator: this is the victim of the political game which is going on here. he is one of many who have made it here to the hospital. there are many others whose fingers were cut off, ears were cut off before elections, and this particular patient is the
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victim of this election. >> as two more americans were killed in southern afghanistan today, the top coalition commander there delivered a long-awaited assessment of the war effort to u.s.'s nato military leaders. although the report has not been released publicly, general stanley mcchrystal says the afghanistan situation is serious but that success is achievable. naval officials said the united states is likely to request even more troops for afghanistan. and that is likely to be the case as well for british forces who have visited in afghanistan this weekend by prime minister gordon brown. in many ways, the british and americans face similar challenges. as we hear from chris shipp of itn. >> since gordon brown was last in afghanistan in april, 54 british soldiers have been killed trying to secure this country. the prime minister returned to the camp this weekend at a time when the election result is still unclear. giving the strongest hint yet
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he's about to send more british troops here at a critical time for the afghan campaign. it's been a bloody and very costly summer for the taliban, after which the universal support for this mission back home has begun to falter. the prime minister wants more afghan troops trained more quickly. and that means another surge in british troops is looking unavoidable. the target for 135,000 afghan soldiers has been brought forward to november next year. only when those soldiers can provide the security this country needs can britain's chief of the defense staff even think about an exit strategy. that remains many years off. >> i think we can get another 50,000 afghan army personnel trained over the next year. stepping that up means that the afghans take more responsibility for their own affairs. they're backed up by partnering and mentoring and you can see
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behind you, what we're bringing into the field. >> amid the continuing accusations the government is not doing enough to protect the men and women here, m. brown promised to step up the fight to counter more than anything else, the roadside bomb. >> ieds have been heavily used by the taliban. we have equipment to find them and are dealing with them. they're a very indiscriminate weapon as well. 80% that go off actually strike at the afghan population and bring misery to their lives not just ours. >> 200 specialists to spot and defuse the bombs are being sent out this autumn. and the crucial unmanned surveillance drones will also have their flying hours increased. british commanders are waiting for the report from stanley mcchrystal, the most senior u.s. general here, before deciding exactly how many more men and women to commit to afghanistan. it begs the question, if the 65,000 international troops are
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here cannot secure this country, will a few thousand reinforcements make much difference? chris shipp, itv news, afghanistan. and joining us now is karen von hiple. she's a senior fellow with the international security program at the center for strategic and international studies in washington, d.c. karen, you just got back from helping monitor the election situation in afghanistan. how did the security situation affect the vote? >> it affected the vote in extraordinary ways. first of all just as monitors we were not able to visit most parts of the country. i was with the national democratic institute for international affairs delegation. we were in only 19 of 34 provinces. we weren't able to monitor everywhere and we were stuck to monitoring the places that were
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sa safer. our observation reports will be skewed towards the favored part. >> there's a piece in "the washington post" today saying that in many provinces almost no women turned out, which seems to be a big step backwards of the presidential elections of five years ago. what can the afghan government do to combat islamic fundamentalist attacks on women's rights? >> it wasn't just women that were being threatened. it was ordinary afghans were being threatened by the taliban. if you vote, if your finger is black due to the ink -- the permanent ink that goes on to your finger when you vote, we will chop off your finger. there were threats and intimidation. they couldn't find women to man the polling station, so they were talking about using old men or young boy, which wasn't acceptable. we heard up to 600 polling centers that were for women weren't allowed to open at all. of course, the security was a big factor, but i also think that voter apathy was another factor that prevented many
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people from going to the polls. people were fed up with the corrupt government. they didn't think things were going to change. many people thought karzai was going to win no matter what happened. >> let's talk about general mcchrystal's assessment, reportedly that america and nato will need to send more troops. surprising to you? >> it isn't surprising. we have a long way to go to make afghanistan safe, especially in the south and the east. now, the problem is i don't think there's a lot of support here in washington for sending additional troop. so it isn't clear to me that mcchrystal will actually ask for more troops right away. he may ask for them in the next month. but what he may try to do instead is do a little creative mathematics. maybe move some of the jobs that soldiers are doing, noncombat jobs, to contractors so he can bring in more fighting forces. that's what we really need, are additional fighting forces on the ground. >> karen von hiple, in washington, d.c., thank you very much for joining us.
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thank you. that brings to us our new segment, how you see it. we would like to know do you think nato and u.s. forces can win in afghanistan? tell us what you think by going to the how you see it section of our website at worldfocus own org and we will report on some of what you had to say tomorrow. last week we asked you about another subject dealing with illegal drugs. is mexico right in its approach in ending the prosecution of people caught with small amounts of marijuana? almost all of you who sent in comments said that it was the right move. here's what one viewer had to say. small time drug offenders have completely clogged the criminal justice system in the united states. with mexico's new strategy, mexican law enforcement can focus their resources on the big drug dealers. maybe the united states can learn something from the new mexican strategy. another one of our viewers wrote, the only way to remove the money from the drug trade is to legalize it.
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when that was done with alcohol, the killings stopped. far too many lives have been lost needlessly and far too many criminals have enriched themselves on our stupidity. and one note from iraq tonight. the military there desperately needs fighter jets. it has just 87 planes according to "the new york times," mostly transport and reconnaissance aircraft. but now iraqi authorities have located 19 soviet-made mig jet fighters in serbia. it turns out that saddam hussein sent them there in the 1980s. serbia says it will make two available immediately. as for the others, most have been stripped for parts, abandoned and are useless.
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the release of the lockerbie bomber continues to reverberate 11 days after abdel basset al megrahi was freed from a prison. the paper reports that jack straw had dropped his opposition to a prisoner transfer agreement with libya just weeks before the two countries ratified a big oil exploration deal. but was al megrahi part of that prisoner agreement? that's where it all gets a bit murky. >> was the only man convicted of the lockerbie bombing and murder of 270 people released in return for 15 billion pounds of oil rights? tony blair visited colonel khadafy to talk oil and the blanket prisoner transfer agreement that could see al
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megrahi sent back to tripoli. but the british had pledged to the americans that he'd serve his sentence in scotland. the oil deal stalled. it's now emerged that jack straw changed britain's position and in a letter to kenny mccaskill, the scottish justice secretary at the end of 2007 wrote -- the wider negotiations are reaching a critical stage and in a few of the overwhelming interests of the united kingdom, i have agreed that in this instance, the prisoner transfer agreement should be in the standard form and not mention any individuals. six weeks later libya ratified the oil agreement. megrahi was now in theory eligible to be transferred home. so does it amount to megrahi for oil? it is all academic. a terminally ill megrahi was released on compassionate grounds, not under a prison
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transfer. but today a public inquiry was demanded. what did jack straw agree to? >> i would not have done a deal, but i have no power to do a deal and to say to the libyans, well, we'll do a murky deal with you on oil and we'll give you a wink about the release of mr. m megrahi. >> and what affectid it have on the scots? apparently none. >> he rejected transferring megrahi and kept faithful the scottish judicial system by releasing mr. megrahi on compassionate grounds because he was suffering from cancer. >> these photos of him looking gravely ill hardly makes the politics of his release any clearer.
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>> and here is something that we take largely for granted 234r this country. riding the bus in a major city. well, in south africa, a public bus system came in just yesterday to johannesburg, the country's commercial center. the buses are considered a step up for many commuters who have had to rely on unregulated van services. beyond commuters, the buses will help people get around more easily next year during soccer's world cup. and finally tonight, that brings us to another story about south africa and soccer and how youngsters are learning something in the playground far more important than how to improve their skills in the game. these are life lessons and how to protect themselves against hiv and aids. a disease that kills several hundred thousand people in south africa each year. the program is reported by tv globo. it is translated and narrated by our brazilian producer.
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>> a poor neighborhood in port elizabeth, one of the cities hosting next year's world cup finals in south africa. the school a small play ground. the teachers arrived with little equipment. a ball and a few cones. everything here has meaning. they explain the activity in one of the 11 official languages and the most common in port elizabeth. each cone represents an obstacle brought on by hiv. for example, if someone learns he has the virus and doesn't seek help. in class, the student must dribble around the cones.
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if he touch one of them, he has to do push-ups. the lesson is if you don't take care of yourself, you can't steer clear of obstacles and there are consequences. there are 450 kids ages 6 through 14 playing and at the same time learning something important. they teach us a lot about hiv, says this 13-year-old. and it's proof that life has made them grow up too soon, they say, we shouldn't go to bed with someone without a condom says this 13-year-old. in the playground, each activity holds a new lesson. the teachers are soccer players themselves and they receive minimal compensation for the classes. "i've seen people die from aids. i've seen it in my family. people don't have any knowledge. they get sick and don't even go
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to a clinic" says one of the teachers. many of these kids are hiv positive or have someone at home with aids. it's a taboo subject in south africa. the school and soccer helps to demystify the issue. "i know it's not going to change things in one day, but our work one day after another can then make a difference in the future" says this teacher. the grassroots project exists in ten countries, africa and the dominican republic in the caribbean. in ten countries hundreds of children are becoming informed. quiet work that brings hope to many communities and brings smile and joys to all. as an aids specialist, it is written, this is the cure not through medicine but through
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education. and that is "worldfocus" for this monday evening. you can find out much more global news and perspective from checking out i'm daljit dhaliwal in new york. we hope to see you back here at the same time tomorrow. have a great evening. good night. "worldfocus" is made possible in part by the following funders -- major support has also been provided by the peter j. peterson foundation. dedicated to promoting fiscal responsibility and addressing key economic challenges facing america's future.
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